HARRISBURG, Pa. – Capital BlueCross has expanded its Virtual Care app to include behavioral health. Developed with American Well, the app enables telehealth visits from members’ smart phone, computer or tablet. “As a leader in health care, we are proud to be able to add access to behavioral health services though our Virtual Care app,” said Dr. Jennifer Chambers, chief medical officer and senior vice president of medical solutions at Capital BlueCross, in a statement. “Virtual Care has the ability to reach so many people, and is another example of Capital BlueCross’ leadership in innovation.” Capital BlueCross is a health solutions and insurance company in Central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark – The Young With Diabetes mHealth app did not improve blood glucose control in young people with Type 1 diabetes, but it could help with self-management of the disease, according to a study published recently in JMIR mHealth and uHealth. “The YWD app is based on the premise that providing a platform for young people to access information and support from peers, parents and health care providers will improve their self-management skills,” said Dr. Pernille Castensoe-Seidenfaden, first author of the study, in a statement. The study enrolled 49 parents and 151 young patients—75 in the control group and 76 received YWD. The app includes a chat room; contact with a health care provider; reminders and tips; information about Type 1 diabetes and carbohydrate counting; and a parents section. After 12 months, results showed no difference in blood glucose control between the groups. Most parents and users believed the app helped in self-management, however. “Qualitative evaluation is needed to explore benefits and shortcomings of Young with Diabetes,” said Castensoe-Seidenfaden. “Health care providers should address young peoples’ knowledge about sensitive topics, provide them with peer support and be aware of parents’ need for information about how to support.”
DUBLIN – Medtronic has rolled out an updated version of the iPro2 myLog app for clinics to import patient logged data during their professional iPro2 continuous glucose monitoring evaluation. The app now includes Nutrino’s artificial intelligence-powered FoodPrint report technology, enabling clinicians to see food information the patient has logged. With the addition of the FoodPrint report, patients’ meals are graded based on their body’s unique glucose reaction, making it easy for them to understand the link between meals and glucose variability. “By making it easier to communicate relevant, personal insights about food’s impact on diabetes, Medtronic arms physicians and diabetes educators with a powerful coaching tool that will help drive positive behavior change,” said Sheri Dodd, vice president and general manager for non-intensive diabetes therapies at Medtronic, in a statement. “Our partnership with Nutrino to infuse more detail about diet’s impact on glucose furthers our goal to make glucose a vital sign in the treatment of diabetes.” Medtronic has expanded its partnership with Nutrino to embed food data and FoodPrint insights across all the company’s Diabetes Group.
MARENGO, Ill. and DOVER, Mass. – The Oscar Mike Foundation, a non-profit association which helps injured veterans stay active, has teamed up with digital-health information provider Backpack Health to enable its members to share medical information with caregivers and health care providers whenever and wherever needed. “The Oscar Mike Foundation enables thousands of injured veterans to re-imagine their full potential through our adaptive sports programs, experiences and events,” said Noah Currier, president of the Oscar Mike Foundation, in a statement. “Disabilities cannot be an obstacle to good health or a good life and the Backpack Health app will give our members ready access to their important health information that can be shared easily with care teams, trainers, and family members.” Through Backpack Health, OM members will have access to personalized, comprehensive medical information and documents in one central location through the portable, multi-lingual Backpack Health app.
SEATTLE – Health startup 98point6 has launched an on-demand primary care service to deliver personalized consultation, diagnosis and treatment by combining artificial intelligence technology with board-certified physicians to deliver care to a patient’s smartphone. Using AI technology in a mobile app, 98point6 automatically builds patient profiles and its system learns from each visit. From there, 98point6 board-certified physicians take over and engage with the patient via private and secure in-app messaging to diagnose, treat and answer any health-related questions. Patients will then receive a personalized care plan detailing their diagnosis and treatment, including prescriptions and labs, as needed. “Our mission is to make primary care accessible and affordable, inspiring early and frequent use, leading to better overall health and material cost of care savings,” said Robbie Cape, CEO and co-founder of 98point6, in a statement. “The ubiquity of smartphones, combined with consumer expectations for simple, life-changing solutions underscores the opportunity for on-demand care. 98point6 meets consumers where they are through private, text-based primary care that’s available when and where they need it.” Seattle Children’s hospital recently became a 98point6 customer and will roll out the service to their employees later this month. “98point6’s solution allows us to provide an additional layer of care that complements current health care plans and fits within our team’s busy lifestyle,” said Myra Gregorian, senior vice president and chief people officer at Seattle Children’s, in a statement. 98point6 physicians are currently seeing patients in 10 states, with plans to roll out the service to all 50 states by the end of the year.
DUBLIN – With their share of a $1 million prize from the IPF Catalyst Challenge earlier this year, health software company patientMpower has developed a digital platform for monitoring lung transplant patients.
The platform, patientMpower for Lung Transplant, allows health clinicians to track the lung function and oxygen saturation of their transplant patients remotely in real-time using integrated monitors like spirometers and oximeters.
“This platform will help patients better self-manage their care at home,” said Eamonn Costello, CEO of patientMpower. “Our clinical trials are showing that doctors are seeing their patients less frequently in the hospital.”
Earlier this year, patientMpower was one of three winners of the IPF Catalyst Challenge, an award given to projects focused on improving the quality of life for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) patients and their caregivers.
Costello said the company worked with specialists and patients to build a solution that is tailored to the complex needs of patients who have received a lung transplant. The resulting solution is mobile, enabling patients to keep track of everything relating to their health after a transplant and share this information with their health care team in real time. It allows patients to track and share biomarkers like temperature, medication use, breathlessness and activity, as well as set medication reminders and receive air quality and weather alerts.
Costello said developing a platform for lung transplant was a natural progression for the company because some patients with IPF end up receiving a lung transplant as their disease progresses. patientMpower has already developed an app for IPF patients, and offers solutions for kidney transplant patients and those managing hemodialysis.
Looking forward, Costello said patientMpower plans to publish results of a recent clinical trial of the platform and continue to work on a new app for caregivers.
“The digitization of health care is opening up so many possibilities,” he said. “Just five years ago it would have been too expensive to have a spirometer in the home but today people have it. Now we have to move beyond just collecting the data and start generating insights—that’s the direction we’re moving in.”
PITTSBURGH – Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, part of UPMC, has released a mobile app for parents and caregivers to access the patient portal, find locations and search pediatric specialists for any condition. “Our new app is a must-have for anyone who interacts with children and teens—from parents and caregivers to teachers, coaches and day care workers,” said Brian Martin, vice president of medical affairs at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, in a statement. The ChildrensPgh also features a symptom checker, medication tracker and emergency services. Additional features, like push notifications, wait times for the emergency room and express care centers and more, will be added throughout the year.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs launched its new VA Video Connect application last week, connecting veterans with their health care team from anywhere, using encryption to ensure a secure and private session. The app makes VA health care more convenient and reduces travel times for veterans, especially those in very rural areas with limited access to VA health care facilities. It also allows health care access from any mobile or web-based device.
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Researchers at Michigan State University have developed a mobile app and hardware for smartphones to measure blood pressure. The approach uses two sensors, with the sensor unit and other circuitry housed in a case attached to the back of the phone. Users turn on the app and press their fingertip against the sensor unit. With their finger on the unit, they hold their phone at heart level and watch their smartphone screen to ensure they’re applying the correct amount of finger pressure. “This device could be a game-changer,” said Ramakrishna Mukkamala, senior author of research on the technology published in Science Translational Medicine. “This invention gives patients a convenient option, and keeping a log of daily measurements would produce an accurate average, discounting an occasional measurement anomaly.”
BALTIMORE, Md. – A smartphone app might help reduce the number of hospital readmissions in patients who have been treated for a heart attack, according to an abstract presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Cardiovascular Summit last month.
“We have found there are many gaps in care in patients recovering from a heart attack,” said Dr. William Yang, lead author of the paper, in a statement. “We wanted to engage patients in their own care, and help them transition from the hospital to home using existing technology.”
The Corrie app is designed to help patients navigate the hospital discharge process by educating them about heart disease. It syncs with the Apple Watch to monitor heart rate and keep track of how much individuals are walking. The app also helps keep track of medications, follow-up appointments and lifestyle changes needed after a heart attack.
“This app helps patients keep track of all their medications, including how much to take and at what time,” Yang said. “They may suddenly have new doctors and more medical visits, including cardiac rehab, and the app helps them track and centralize all those appointments.”
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center studied 60 patients hospitalized with a heart attack who agreed to use the app in the hospital and for 30 days after discharge. The hospital purchased phones to loan to patients who did not have iPhones as part of a pilot program to maximize patient reach, and all participants were loaned an Apple Watch.
Of the 60 participants, 3% were readmitted for any reason within 30 days, compared with 19% of all heart attack patients at Johns Hopkins. Because the hospital does not receive Medicare reimbursement for patients readmitted within 30 days, this difference in readmission rates represents a cost savings of $262,500 in readmission penalties, Yang said.
The researchers are continuing to use patient feedback to refine the app to make it easier to use and more helpful for patients recovering from a heart attack. They are also actively working to expand access to Corrie.
“We think this is a readily scalable program,” Yang said.